Do It Yourself Blown-In Wall Insulation
Fiberglass, cellulose, or mineral wool insulation can be blown into your walls between the studs to provide extra insulation in your home. By blowing insulation into your walls, you can save 20 to 30 percent on your heating bill. You can rent an insulation blower called a hopper at your local building supply store. Dry cellulose is the most widely used material for blown-in insulation; it fills cavities and voids well and doesn’t itch like fiberglass does. Ask a friend to help you with this project.
Fill the hopper with the cellulose insulation according to the instructions on the hopper and the bag of insulation.
Locate the wall studs by running a stud finder over the surface of the wall. Mark each of the studs you find by making a pencil mark on the wall. Studs are typically spaced about 16 inches apart.
Cut a circle at the top of the wall, equidistant between the corner and the first stud, with the hole saw. Make sure the hole is as wide as the diameter of the hose so you can fit it through this opening. Save the patch you cut out of the wall so you can use it to repair the wall when you’re finished blowing the insulation into the wall. Cut additional holes along the wall at the same height and equidistant between each stud.
Stand on the ladder and insert the hopper hose into the first hose. Ask your friend to stand by the hopper and turn it on when you ask. Position the hose in the wall so it is pointing down inside the wall cavity, toward the floor.
Wrap a rag around the hose where it goes into the wall to keep insulation from blowing back out of the hose when you turn on the hopper.
Instruct your friend to turn on the hopper. Hold the hose firmly as the cellulose insulation begins to fill the cavity. You will need to pull the hose up as the cellulose fills the gap; keep your hand on the rag around the opening so the cellulose doesn’t blow out. When you feel the cellulose fill the space completely, instruct your friend to turn off the hopper.
Continue this process down the wall until you have filled all the cavities between the studs with cellulose.
Patch the drywall with the pieces you cut out by applying drywall compound to the edges with a putty knife. When the drywall compound dries, you can sand it and paint it the color of the rest of the wall.
- Cellulose insulation is more expensive than fiberglass insulation, however, it can save you 20 to 50 percent on your heating bills, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.
- Always wear safety goggles, a respirator, long-sleeved clothing, long pants and work gloves to protect yourself when working with any kind of insulation.
JIm Cooper is an attorney and business consultant. He serves on the board of many corporations. He is also a published writer with more than 30 years of experience. Cooper's articles have been published in "American Executive," "Men's Health" magazine, "Newsweek," "Marie Claire" and "Mademoiselle" magazines.